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2001-02-12
Mountain View, Ca. Home Depot's Human Shield.

If consumers aren't building enough houses, maybe its time for Home Depot to start building them. Citizens in Mountain View, California must have been amazed to watch as Home Depot revealed at a recent city Study Session that the company wants to build a two-story, mixed use development that could have housing as well as a store on the site. Home Depot proposed a row of townhouses to border its store. At the hearing, Home Depot passed out its own "Make it Happen" stickers to their supporters. Because the land Home Depot wants is designated as a "gateway/landmark" area, the company said it had to dream up an "innovative site plan." But opponents to the project, and some City Council residents, had mixed reactions to Home Depot's mixed use plans. "I'm tired of playing footsies with Home Depot," the Vice Mayor told the Mountain Valley Voice. Another Council member was quoted as saying: "If they don't come up with a very unique building design, I don't think they'll make it in this town." Council member Rosemary Stasek was more worried about truck traffic at the site, and said "unless they were to run this store completely differently from the way they operate their other hundreds of stores, it would not be acceptable." She said the city could not regulate out-of-state trucking companies that would make deliveries to the store. "There's no amount of sales tax we could get that would justify 24 by 7 code enforcement on that site," she noted. "It has been my consistent position that Home Depot is not a good neighbor. The stores that are in commercial areas can work, but the ones that are adjacent to residential areas have shown they're not a good neighbor."

What you can do: The fact is, the land Home Depot wants in Mountain View is not zoned for a large scale commercial project. The Planning Commission is developing design guidelines for this site as a "gateway/landmark" project. There is no way that a Home Depot can look like a "landmark" project, unless the city decides to change its name to Depot View. Opponents of this project claim that Home Depot's proposal to build housing near their store is a "last minute ploy for approval." "They fear that they do not have the votes on the City Council because of the outpouring of the neighborhood," said Brian Avery. "They want to put a human shield, meaning families and the elderly, in a row of townhouses." Home Depot responded that the townhouses would act as a "buffer" between the store and the community of homes and apartments around it. And who on earth, one might ask, would want to live in a townhouse that had day and night views of Home Depot?










 
 
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